Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Testifies on FY 2018 Budget CSPAN June 21, 2017 2:11am-4:13am EDT
what is this life supposed to be? i was on this track. i can't each make sense of what has happened to me. and we have been letting perpetrators go by not testing these kids and saying we don't care about this issue. >> and senator rand paul on proposed arms sale to saudi arabia. >> we will discuss something even more important than an arms sale. we will discuss whether -- should we be actively involved, actively involved with refuelling the saudi planes, with picking targets, having advisors on underdwro. should we be at war in yemen. >> interior secretary ryan zinke visited capitol hill earlier today to previous law lakers on president trump's 2018 budget proposal for his
department. the senate energy and natural resources committee hearing was cut short because senate democrats did not consent for committee hearings that day to go two hours past 10 a.m. when the senate began its business. good morning, everyone. the committee will come to order. we are here this morning to consider the president's budget request for the department of interior for fiscal year 2018. this is the second of three budget hearings before our committee this year following the forest service last week and the kept of energy which is coming up on thursday. secretary zinke, welcome back to the committee for your first appearance since our bipartisan
vote in favor of your confirmation on march 1st. it was nice to be able to give you the the official tally this morning, make it officially official. i want to start by noting you have taken on some tough tasks at the department including some challenges that really have gone unaddressed for years. i think you are off to a good start. and i appreciate that. i have enjoyed working with you during the early month of your tenure as secretary. i truly appreciated the opportunity to host you and some members here on the committee in alaska a couple weeks ago. we had meetings in in anchorag. we were up on north slope looking at considerable potential up there. we attended a memorial ceremony for the veterans at myers lake. it was a priority, a productive time while you were in the state. our hearing coincides for a big milestone for alaska. today the 40th anniversary of
first oil moving through your transalaska pipeline. it was on this day back in 19 # 7 that our 800-mile-long pipeline carried the first of what is now more than 17 billion barrels of oil south to valdez. . we had an opportunity while you were in alaska to be at the start of the pipeline, mile zero, along with senator barrasso, senator daines of our committee, and a couple others. i believe that you saw why alaskans say that tax is not a pipeline it is truly our economic lifeline. you wasted no time signing a secretarial order that will help us refill that important asset. and our department's budget request includes a number of proposals that will continue to help alaska get back on track. the administration has requested a total of $11.7 billion in
discretionary appropriations for the deputy of the interior in fy 18. over all, that's a reduction of more than 1 ebola from current level. it's in line with the administration's effort to shift funding to defense needs. know that we are going to be reviewing all of the cuts that this budget proposes very, very carefully. i don't expect many of them to become a reality, especially those that target popular programs. with you i will also say that the positives in my view outweigh the negatives. for every item that many of us will not be able to support, there is another one that we can. and i haven't been able to make that statement for quite a while now. it's good to be able to say it. a good example is in the administration's decision to seek to end offshore revenue sharing for the gulf coast states. something that my colleague at the end of the row here is clearly engaged on. and like most alaskans, i want
to expand revenue sharing rather than end it. so frankly, i don't see that proposal going anywhere. but it's also clear that the administration understands that we need to strengthen our energy security because i see proposals for both a new five-year leasing program which will hopefully restore act is he is to alaska's arctic ocs as well as a proposal to open the non-wilderness portion of anwar to production. i have been asked a couple times in recent weeks why is now the right time to ep up the 1002 area. i want to explain why i believe this is so important for us to act on. first of all it is critical to understand we are talking about a part of anwar that congress explicitly set aside for oil and gas exploration. in 1987, 30 years ago this year, the federal government recommended it be opened for that purpose. and today, we are at a place
where alaska, where we have the highest unemployment rate in the country right now. we need more jobs. we have a dire state budget. we need more revenues. and with global oil discovers falling boo global demand projected to increase we know that the world is going to need more oil. what will opening the 1002 area deliver? by developing just about one-ten thousandth of the refuse, #,000 surface areas in an area roughly the size of south carolina we can create new jobs, generate tens of millions of dollars of new revenues, bring energy on line when we need to strengthen our security, strengthen our competitiveness and this is something that most alaskans, more than 70% strongly support. i also support the administration taking a deliberative and constructive approach on a tow potential royalty for hard rock minerals.
i'm interested to see the results of the study the doi is conducting. we have 50 different minerals. our first goal must be to do no harm. that's exactly what i see here. the administration's proposal to extent pilt is not good sign. i would thoet it should be mandatory and not subject to an across the board cut not unless the government is willing to divest some of its lands and allow others the to recoup alternati alternatives. it's better than what we have seen in recent years. it doesn't rely on budget gimmicks. it asks us the look for years where we can cut spending. it asks us to take care of the federal lands that the government already owns rather than continuing to buy more. and it will help western states
to increase the production of our natural resources. secretary i thank you for being here, i thank you for the steps that you are taking to help restore alaska's trust in the department. with that, senator cantwell i turn to you for your opening remarks. >> thank you madam chair. this morning we are reviewing the president's proposed budge for theent did of the interior. overall, the bumming is proposing to cut underiffing by $1.8 billion, a 1% decrease from current fiscal year funding. this budget would be devastating to national parks, wildlife refuse ooej ujs and other lands and betrays the responsibility to native tribes. the budget gives us a clear indication of president trump and secretary zinke's priorities. these interests put priorities on on shore and off shore development and cut canning fund for other priorities.
just one year after our national park centennial, this budget would cut 400 million from the the park service budget with. it would result in cutting more than a thousand full time employees. according to the department the's own math, quote nearly 90% of the parks would reduce their current staffing levels, leading to reduction of the public services to the public, end quote. secretary stink's proposal also object secures the fact it is cutting the land and water conservation program. this is our nation's most successful land conservation program which 85 senators voted to make permanent just last year. suffice it to say this budget would pump the brakes on a. booing outdoor recreation economy all in favor of industries that have had trouble competing in today's market lays. meanwhile, the administration's war on science is also on full
tis play. the u.s. geological survey would be cut by 15%, $163 million. we are talking about water and climate science. we are also talking about u.s. gs's work on natural hazards, including earthquakes and volcano warning systems that are vital to the public. it would also cut funds from independent yap affairs. these cuts would significantly reduce funding for social services. finally i suppose i should not be surprised the administration is proposing to he open up the arctic wildlife refuge to oil drilling. it has been attempted since the 1980s but that doesn't mean it is right. i know this is something we will have continued discussion on but i think it's also important
since it is the first time that secretary zinke is back before the committee that we raise other issues. my colleagues senator murray and i are particularly concerned about your national monument strategy, concerned about the handford reach monument. it is also clear there are many other areas. it took the trump administration less than 100 days to launch an unprecedented war on 111 years of bipartisan land conservation which began with president roosevelt's leadership. the most glaring example is an attack on the an particular wits act in general. and bear's ears national monument. trying to roll back bear's ears is a taxpayer waste especially at time when the administration is proposing significant staff cutbacks. in my opinion, secretary zinke's recent decision to propose another management designation for bear's ear is an afront to tribes and the bear's ear
intertribal coalition. these tribes have spent years working to protect these lands. i believe that any action by this administration to undermine the protection for bear's ears or any other national monument is illegal and i will strongly oppose any legislative attempt to weaken this monument status. secretary zinke, the administration is also emt at thatting to unilaterally suspen that have already gone into effect on the blm methane rule. last week the department announced its dubious decision to suspend the methane and waste rule, this is a common sense rule that implements a 97-year-old requirement to prevent waste of natural gas. many people understand here that my colleagues in the senate just voted on this recently, but instead of following what the united states senate has said should be done, the department is trying to abandon hundreds of pages of environmental analysis. i want to be clear, my colleague
senator udall and i are sending you a letter today saying that you must follow the administrative procedures. you cannot just change this rule without notice and without comment. you cannot just make up your own new regulation without a due process. so, clearly, we have a lot to discuss today. i look forward to hearing the secretary's statements, but know that these important issues of our public lands will be defended and we will have an open discussion about our path forward. i thank the chair. >> thank you, senator cantwell. we are joined this morning again by the secretary of the interior, the honorable ryan zinke. he's also joined at the table this morning by ms. olivia barton, the deputy assistant of the secretary of budget finance, performance, and acquisition and also denise flanagan, director of office and budget. it's my understanding that only the secretary will be offering remarks this morning. is that correct?
>> that is correct. >> mr. secretary -- >> i have some great help, though. >> we appreciate you being here. i will note to colleagues that we are scheduled to have two votes commencing at 11:00. it's my intention to try to just keep the committee moving throughout that, so when the first vote is called, you might want to look around the dais and figure out when you are up next, and plan your timing to go to the floor around that, but i do intend to keep us moving, because it's my understanding that we will have to conclude the hearing this morning at noon. so, secretary zinke, if you would like to present the president's budget proposal. welcome. >> well, thank you. and high honor to be before you today to testify in support of the president's 2018 budget for the department of interior. i do request permission to submit my entire statement for the record. >> it will be included. >> the president's budget. this is what a balanced budget
looks like. i want to repeat that. this is what a balanced budget looks like. there's tough decisions throughout, but if we want to balance the budget, this is the starting point of what a balanced budget would look like. hasn't been one for a while. i fully understand my stewardship opportunities, because interior touches the lives of more americans than any other department, and i take that responsibility very seriously. the president's budget proposes $11.7 billion and saves the taxpayer dollars about $1.6 billion. we make strategic investments to ensure our nation's energy and national security and to address the core responsibilities that lie within the department. the president's budget prioritizes in all the above energy strategy. it does not favor oil and gas or coal over any other strategy.
but we also think it's necessary to have a prudent focus on boosting revenue through legislative proposals to raise about $5.8 billion. and speaking of revenue, in 2008, the department of interior made about $18 billion a year in offshore alone. we were second only to our friends at the irs. last year our revenue was $2.6 billion. that's a drop of $15.5 billion a year in revenue. so when we talk about infrastructure, the parks are about $11.5 billion behind, which represents 73% of our total gap in maintenance and repair. we would have made up that in scale in one year with the amount of revenue we dropped. so i will be looking at revenue. and one of my first tasks is a
secretary order, and thanks to the ranking member, i did look at revenues across the board and look at royalties, rents, all the above. giving no quarter to gas, oil, wind, if you're going to operate on public land, then the public should have a say, because we are all stewards of our public lands, and we want to make sure we have a fair return. that return should be transparent, and it should be trust, but verify. so i was pleased one of my first acts was to write a secretary order to do just that, look at our revenues across the field on public land. when it comes to infrastructure, the lwcf, what is removed from the budget proposal is acquisition of new land. clearly with $11.5 billion deficit in maintenance and repair, the priority must be to
take care of what we have, and if you doubt that the look at our ability to maintain, i invite you to go up and look at arlington. arlington is a national disgrace. i'm talking about the building up on top, lee's home. through neglect, the shutters are nearly falling off, the gardens are in disrepair, the building itself is a national disgrace. i invite you to go up and take a look at it, because we have to take care of what we own. the budget calls for a $35 million increase for a total of $766 million in national park infrastructure. this includes a $18 million first phase repairing the arlington memorial bridge. of note, of our $11.5 million backlog in the parks, about half
are roads. and about a third of those roads are outside our parks. there's a $260 million bill on memorial bridge. i own parkways, access, gateway roads, that are outside of what most americans would think would be a park responsibility. for the first time in many years, payment in lieu of taxes is part of the discretionary budget. as you may remember last year, it was part of mandatory budget that did not pass and it was zero. this year it is $397 million, which is about -- and the reduction is about the same in the savings as the other programs. but it is in the budget. that's different from last year. we fully fund fire suppression at a ten-year average. fighting forest fires, particularly in the west, has become a billion dollar problem. and growing up in the west,
investing and making sure we remove dead and dying trees is a prudent expense. we also support indian trust responsibilities. the core focus on self governments, self determination, and sovereignty. so we found savings by reducing federal land acquisition, eliminating redundant programs by allowing states, local communities, and private partners to take the lead on some others. at the end of the day, this is what a balanced budget looks like. there's tough decisions. i fully understand the responsibility to the executive, as well as the responsibility of congress. congress gets a say, and i'm glad to be here with you today to go through that. i understand there's different priorities within each of you and each of your states, and i will always work with you to make sure we have a budget that
represents a great nation. i can and will maintain our assets, offer a world class experience on public lands, deliver savings to the taxpayers, whether it's through public-private partnerships, encouraging responsible energy development, or reorganizing my workforce, so i'm thrilled to be with you today, and i look forward to your questions and working together. >> thank you, secretary zinke. let me start off by bringing up an issue that we have had some discussion on, both here in committee and off committee, and this is as it relates to transfer of federal lands to states. you have often said that you do not support transferring federal lands to states, but you also acknowledge that alaska is unique, it has some distinctions, and i appreciate that. when we look to alaska's lands and what was granted at
statehood, the right to acquire more than 104 million acres of land roughly equal to the size of the state of california, alaska natives were also granted lands to settle aboriginal claims. today the interior department, through the blm, effectively acts as a real estate agent to accomplish these land transfers. blm still needs to finish deciding the fate of 38.4 million acres. still needs to survey more than 16 million before the patents can be issued. our alaska native corporations have another 9.67 million acres under adjudication and about 750,000 acres of tentative selections awaiting surveys. to my colleagues, this is a lot of land that is yet to be conveyed. we've been a state now for over 50 years. the promises to our alaska
native people were made over 40 years ago. so, it's something that i have pushed through successive administrations, and just want to make sure that we are on the same page here when it comes to land transfers in alaska. i would ask whether you agree that the interior department, according to federal law, has a role and an obligation to convey federal lands to alaska and to our alaska native people. >> thank you, madam. and alaska is different. as i'm concerned about the surveying process, i don't know how long we've been at the surveying process. >> too long. >> but it's too long. so we are working with the state to use technology and agree how to use the technology so we can get it done. >> and that still remains a little bit of a rub, but i appreciate that you were updated on that on your visit to alaska.
>> and i would like to work with you. there's surveys that are in intermediate process. i don't know why we can't go forward and view those as final in the process and get that moving. you have a veteran issue. vietnam veterans, native alaskans served our country, they were not either informed, did not take action with it, and how to provide their right on land. we've talked -- there's multiple ways forward, but we need to get it done. so i will work with you and committee to work with you and get it done. i think the best pass forward is on a conveyance to agree and put a time frame on it and to sit down and look at the best technology in order to get it done. sometimes the 98% solution today is better than 100% solution 15 years from now. and if we both work together, i
think we can get this done quickly. certainly, on the ones that have done in the intermediate, i think we should both propose to move to final and get that section of it done. >> well, know that this is something that we need to be working on, not only the state lands and the interim conveyances that are out there, but again, these allotments to our alaska native veterans, those lands to those who are termed the landless natives. there is so much that is yet unfulfilled in terms of promises and commitments made to alaska upon statehood and to our native people, so we need to be working to advance them. let me ask very quickly, the secretarial order you signed when you were up in the state to increase energy production, again, particularly relevant today in light of the 40th anniversary of taps. do you have any update for me on the implementation of that order, including the advised integrated activity plan for
npra and just where you are with implementation of that secretarial order? >> i will get the specifics on it, but i wanted to point out on 1002 specifically, that was set aside to assess. and my responsibility is to do just that, assess. i don't have the authority to authorize production in the 1002. that authority lies within congress. my responsibility is to make sure i assess, and as the steward of our public's lands, i think it's important to know what our inventory is, because decisions being made on production levels, investment, all should be made on the basis of science and fact. so my intent is to move forward rapidly and assess exactly what assets the taxpayers in this great nation has. in the 1002, as was set aside to do just that. >> thank you. we look forward to that, and
again, i will work with you on getting some kind of an update on the other aspects of the plan within npra and other areas. senator kancantwell? >> thank you, and thank you, secretary zinke, for being there. as you know, my state is home to two of the largest national parks, mt. rainier and olympic, and your proposal would cut both parks about 7% from mt. rainier, which would see a funding reduction of $881,000, and olympic national park a reduction of $900,000. so, i am trying to understand these parks were already underfunded, and the funding cuts will only make the problems worse. can you explain why you think cutting these parks and support functions and park personnel who are on the front lines is the right strategy in balancing, as you say, a budget? >> infrastructure increased $38
million. that's not a cut. secondly, front line is our parks, and since i've been secretary, i have been to -- let me make the list. i think i've been to maine, new hampshire -- let's see, utah, montana, alaska, connecticut, i've toured monuments, and it's clear the front line is too thin. so, my assessment of department of interior is we have too many middle management and above and too few in the parks, so we are looking at going through a process, coordination with you, how to push more assets to front line. and we've seen it. every cost-cutting measure previous to this is always regionalized assets up and we find ourselves too short where they are needed, is in the parks. and, yes, we need more
scientists in the field and less lawyers, but also you look at our stacked on the regions, we're too heavy in the regions and unfortunately that has taken a toll at our parks. secondly, is the best funds for the parks are through the door. take us to the door. we had 330 million visitors to our parks last year. half our parks didn't charge. we divided in a tier system and many of our parks don't even follow the tier system, so we have to look at revenue, as well, and public-private partnerships. we're looking at some of our parks on transportation. if you go to yosemite, the yosemite experience is now going up a freeway. rainier has challenges in your park about the experience whether it's an i-5, too many traffic, so public-private partnerships how to move people and maintain experience in the
park is important, and we're looking at everything. >> well, mr. secretary, i find the budget focused on the oil and natural gas aspect of revenue, that i think that you are neglecting the fact that the outdoor economy generates $887 billion a year. $65 billion in federal revenue, $59 billion in state and local revenue, so that's $124 billion to the government. so that versus the $2 billion you're talking about or $18 billion, depending on price fluctuations for oil and gas, i want to make sure we're putting pedal to the metal as it relates to the outdoor economy and opportunities. that is going to generate a lot more revenue for us as a government. i wanted to ask about the blm methane rule we voted on in the senate. do you believe you're responsible for complying to the administrative procedures act? >> i entered into the record the
notification, and we are following in compliant with the law. >> do you think that the notice and comment are important to reviewing the public regulation? >> we are reviewing the methane. as you know, there was a cra that came close to one vote on it. my position on the methane is i think -- >> does that mean you are free to do what you want? just because you think it came close? >> no. >> the rule stands, right? >> that's not what i said, ma'am. is what i said was, my position on methane, i think it's a waste, and we both agree that flaring is a waste, so we're looking at the rule in order to make sure that we can provide incentives to capture it, because as a steward of your public lands and they are your public lands, i think just flaring it is waste, so we have to incentivize capture systems,
isolated can connect, and we make sure that the taxpayer is getting a fair valuation of our public holdings. >> so my question to you is, do you believe since that is the law and now you are proposing to change it, do you believe that you have to adhere to the administrative procedures act and you have to have public notice and comment as part of that rule making? >> we provided public notice. public notice is now open as it sits right now, and we entered into the register the procedure begin to change the rule. that is within the law. >> so you're going to have a public notice and comment period as part of that? >> absolutely. because i follow the law. >> we will look forward to following up on that with you. >> thank you, senator cantwell. senator cassidy? >> secretary zinke, thank you for being with us. appreciate it. in your comments you mentioned the advantage you have of
growing up in the west and understanding the importance of appropriate measures for fire suppression. well worth, i think, the billion dollars or so that you're putting forward. and i kind of compliment you for that. what i bring up now is my advantage of growing up on the gulf coast and kind of a lead in into that. obviously, the budget takes the gulf states for the oil and gas leasing and the budget states the administration proposes to repeal these revenue-sharing payments to ensure the sale of public resources from federal waters owned by all americans benefit all americans. now, as you know, beginning in 2018, oil and gas revenues for gulf states are set to increase to $375 million with an additional $125 being distributed to the stateside land and water conservation fund. now what you may not know, which of course i do being from louisiana, in our state these revenues are constitutionally required to be put towards
coastal restoration. again, i was struck that you mentioned that it is a prudent approach to remove dead and dying trees and so justifies, if you will, the money for fire suppression. totally agree with that. i guess the point i would make is that it is a prudent approach to rebuild the gulf coast coastline, just a couple comments on this, though, if you will, the federal role in this. our coastline began to erode when the mississippi river was dammed, if you will, levied, for the benefit of inland commerce. so all those ports up and down the mississippi benefit because our land is levied and since the year those levies began, our coastline has begun to recede. so the benefit which is nationwide, and i agree it should be nationwide, the
penalty for that is born entirely environmentally by our state. now, if you will, that's where i would see the kind of federal obligation. so, let me just show you since i mention that the money that we receive has to be used for our coastal master plan, can we put the first poster up? this is our coastal master plan. 120 projects, which will reduce flood damage by $150 billion, creating 802 miles of land. the green spaces where the land will be produced. when the hurricanes come towards new orleans, every mile of wetlands lost allows that storm to be that much stronger, destroying, if you will, levy walls, flooding out homes, creating obligation for the american taxpayer for that as we saw with katrina. so if we don't have these dollars, this can't happen.
when we met before your confirmation you mentioned you were going to congressman scalise's offshore energy visits and saw how we use those funds for restoration. we also know that our coastline has refineries and pipelines that are the energy coast, if you will, for our state. can we go up to two and three? this is what is going to happen if we don't take action. if we don't have that revenue to rebuild our coastline, this is the high end scenario. 50 years from now red is the land that is lost. and if we have it, we can -- this is a future medium scenario. that's the worst. this is medium. so even medium we can see an incredible vulnerability for new orleans sitting right here as all this wetlands is lost and, therefore, the ability to buffer storms hitting our coast. and then i can just go -- and by
the way, this is all energy coastline, so our nation depends upon the refineries and pipelines here. the price of gasoline rises in the northeast when our pipelines are put out of business by a large storm. so, my guess -- my question, you've mentioned desiring to be energy secure. that, of course, depends upon our offshore revenue and development, but also depends upon those pipelines and refineries to take that oil and gas, so i guess first question, how does removing those funds away from louisiana help fulfill that energy dominance? secondly, i will say that you've mentioned the need to address the debt and deficit. i will point out that if we do expand revenue sharing and development off alaska and the atlantic coast, which those states are, frankly, incentivized to participate in by sharing the revenue with them, we will increase revenues
for the nation, as well as for those states, and increase the number of good paying jobs with more people paying taxes out of good paying jobs. so i guess the second question, would you support legislation that expanded revenue sharing to the atlantic states, alaska, and the rest of the gulf of mexico if sales were scheduled off their coast in the next five-year plan? >> well, thank you for your question. and, you know, montana and louisiana are very similar. the water starts in montana and makes its way down to missouri or the mississippi, and i know more about red snapper than i ever care to sitting next to congressman graves, but i understand exactly what you're talking about on this. and the budget does take the tact, and again, this is the first step of what a balanced budget would look like, but the budget before you looks at a balanced budget in ten years and where the revenues come from. the position of this budget is the revenue goes into treasury.
clearly, the position of louisiana, that that is inappropriate, and i understand exactly, you know, between the differences on it. what i can say is, that i'll work with you on it, certainly, i understand the importance of louisiana. we think that taking 94% of the offshore assets offline has had a significant detriment to revenue of interior, and when you have a lot of money, you know, the choices become easier. but when you drop $15.5 billion a year in revenue, much of it from offshore, much of it from the gulf, some of it from alaska and other holdings, it has a significant -- creates a significant issue on funding. so i'll work with you and i'll be glad to. >> thank you. >> senator franken?
>> thank you, madam chair. just one note on climate and sea level rise. i think there's a relationship. secretary zinke, welcome. during your confirmation hearing, you assured members of this committee that you took tribal consultation and sovereignty very seriously, but i have to say what i've heard from tribal nations so far is not promising. when it comes to the department of the interior status review of the bear's ears national monument, you said the tribes are, "very happy" with your recommendation to reduce the boundaries of the monument, but this really isn't the case. the bear's ears intertribal coalition, which represents the five local sovereign nations, has been clear in its unanimous position to keep bear's ears
national monument as it is and has condemned your recent recommendation stating "the radical idea of breaking up bear's ears national monument is a slap in the face to members of our tribes and an affront to indian people all across the nation." that doesn't sound very happy to me. mr. secretary, you told this committee that "sovereignty should mean something." you've also said you consulted with tribal nations about your recommendation regarding bear's ears, but they all oppose your recommendation. so can you explain how your decision respects sovereignty and self determination? >> well, thank you. i would invite members to go to bear's ears and look at what it is. it's 1.5 million acres, roughly one and a half times of glacier
national park. within bear's ears, the present monument, there is already a monument. there's national forest. there is wilderness study areas of 400,000 acres. there's a national -- u.s. national forest, and there's blm land. my assessment after talking to tribes in washington, d.c., and tribes there, i met with the intercoalition, but also there is a distinct difference between the utah navajo and the arizona navajo, which should be respected. there's a commissioner in utah that represents the utah navajo, which is by -- she is elected official that represents her district. so the monument itself is split on whether tribes agree. i talked to them all. >> does yours have official
representation in the tribe? >> she's mandated by congress as a commissioner and she is elected in her district and represents that district, which is navajo, sir. >> but does she have representation in the tribe herself? >> she is the only representation of that utah navajo in her district. that is actually where the monument is. so to say the commissioner does not have a say or the tribes that i talked to, the members of the tribes in utah, all have a say. she is not part of the intertribal coalition, which i'm not sure why she's not. >> i'm sure -- you said the tribes are, quote, very happy, and the intertribal coalition has said that breaking up the monument is a slap in the face.
those seem at odds. >> well, i did talk to the tribes. >> you talked about to the tribes, but you said they were all -- you said they were very happy, but we have the bear's ears intertribal coalition saying that the radical idea of breaking up bear's ears national monument is a slap in the face to the members of our tribes and an affront to indian people all across the country. those seem very at odds. >> i know you probably have talked to the navajo, but i have, too. >> i have -- >> okay, and the northern utes and what they really want is co-management. above all is co-management. but also bear's ears, there's a little thing called the law, and the law says smallest area compatible to protect the object. and in the case of the 1.5
million acres of bear's ears, those antiquities that contained in can be separated, identified, and the borders can be revised. i believe it should be co-managed, and that's what the tribes want. >> i'm not sure that's what the tribes want, and, madam chair, i'm out of time, but it seems that the intertribal coalition speaks for what the tribes want more than you do, and they say that this is a slap in the face. i'm sure that senator from new mexico, senator hinrich, may have something to adhere. thank y . >> secretary zinke, thanks for being here today. congratulations on your first hearing before this committee since your confirmation, secretary of the interior. again, the significance of your leadership at the department to
our great state of montana cannot be overstated. i know very well that you understand the importance of achieving the balanced melody of land use, as we say out in montana, this blend of merle haggard and john denver, that blend here as we look at our public lands. i also understand the critical importance of setting priorities within spending constraints. i am happy to see your prioritization of energy development. that balance has been lacking the past eight years, and we know that in montana how much of our state relies on federal oil, coal, and gas for good paying jobs and tax revenue that keep many of our rural communities afloat, and, frankly, are sinking as we speak here, trying to keep their schools, their teachers, their infrastructure funded. however, i remain highly concerned regarding the budget's proposed reductions in the pilt program and other revenue sharing programs like a wildlife
refugee. i was just up in your part of the state, up there in columbia falls recently. we had some county commissioners, mineral county, sanders county. we have counties in montana that have over 90% owned by the federal government, and, of course, there's no tax base there because the federal government doesn't pay taxes. and trying to help these county commissioners who are struggling, literally, literally, they are reducing their staffing on their road crews, and we have county commissioner jumping on graters plowing snow in the wintertime to keep the school buses going because of the lack of revenues because we've lost our timber industry on these federal lands. however, the pilt program, payment in lieu of taxes, are a life blood for these counties out west. and we need to improve land management, but in the meantime we've got to provide, i believe, full funding for these programs
to create certainty for our local county budgets. today i also want to ask you about some of these cuts to our national parks. i know you're a lifelong neighbor to glacier national park, i am one to yellowstone national park. we both know how critical our national parks are. thank you, mr. secretary, for prioritizing deferred and cyclical maintenance in your budget. over, the president's budget cuts to glacier and $2.5 to yellowstone in operation accounts. i'm concerned as we see these national parks receiving record levels of visitation, i know we're going to be proclaiming the month of june as the great outdoors month, encourage visitation, so i'm guessing we're going to see glacier park and yellowstone park of having yet another record season. i believe we do share the strength in our national park
service for the 21st century. i share your commitment to fully addressing maintenance needs on our public hands, as you so clearly articulated in your opening statement. my question is this, as the parks service is likely to continue to receive high visitation this year and share the goal of strengthening our national parks service, how will these cuts in operations funding ensure the public has an experience we all expect from what has been called america's best idea? >> well, thank you for the question. it's always a pleasure to work with you. first on pilt, pilt, this budget includes $397 million in pilt. that is a difference from last budget of plus $397 discretionary side. and i can't tell you what the exact amount is going to be, because the secure rule schools, still has not been authorized, and it's going to be difficult
to estimate until that does, but right now it sits in this proposed budget at 12% reduction and not knowing the certainty of what's going to happen with the srs, but it is unlike last budget, there's $397 in it. i think, which is a good start. the parks. again, i'll go to when you lose $15.5 billion worth of revenue, it makes a difference. when half our parks don't charge, when even the tier system that many of the parks don't follow our own tier system, interior gives away about $5.5 billion worth of grants, and a lot of those grants are in programs outside of our assets. so i think we have to realign in this budget, and it does, core to make sure we fund our core responsibilities. the parks are a treasure.
i think no one understands that more than you and i, but also we are -- in my assessment on manpower, we're too heavy in middle and upper management, and so to shift those assets forward, we intend to do that in working with you in a reorganization that strengthens our core parks. >> all right, thank you. i'm out of time. we'll see you again tomorrow, i think, at appropriations committee. look forward to exploring budget requests then. thank you, mr. secretary. >> thank you. senator? >> thank you, madam chair. welcome, secretary zinke. as you well know, we've had these conversations, i so appreciate you taking the time with me, but in nevada with over 85% of public lands in the state, many of our rural communities are reliant upon these lands for revenue, local recreation, economy, livestock raising, and energy development. that's why our relationship with
the department of interior over the years has been so crucial and why it's important that we have a really good working relationship, so i appreciate the opportunities that you've had to speak with me and look forward to working with you in the future, as well, including when you come out to take a look. i know you're looking at gold butte basin and range, and we've had this conversation, as well. you know my concerns about the executive order and the letter that i've sent to you, so i want to ask you just initially. i know we've had discussions about you coming out in the fall, and when you do come out, will you take into consideration the economic benefit and widespread support of nevada's monuments before making a decision? >> i thank you for the question, and right now my schedule has me in july coming out to nevada, oregon, and new mexico. and in the way that i've looked at the monuments, one, does it
follow the law? is it settled? is the community happy with it? that's why i talk to local community commissioners and tribal leaders and business folks, because i think taking in all the above is the first time, as well, as regulations.com is that the public can have their say outside. as you know, a monument designation by the president is singular. it does not require nepa, nor does it require public comment, but the president has on his e.o. has emphasized public comment and economic development as part of that. yes, ma'am. >> thank you. and let me turn now to the bureau of reclamation. in the fiscal year 2018 request for the bureau, it was $1.1 billion, a cut of $209 million. the request proposes cuts for water smart grants for water recycling for reuse projects, for drought response, and rural
water projects. the state of nevada gets the least rainfall than any other state in the nation, so we have to be incredibly mindful of persistent drought conditions, as well as infrastructure improvements. why would the administration propose cuts for successful programs that help nevada and the west? i'm curious to how you're going to respond to this. >> well, i'll go back to this is what a balanced budget looks like. i agree with you on water reclamation in particular for a kid that grew up in the west, as you know, there's $18 billion in the water reclamation, and yet we can't appropriate money on our core infrastructure to support rural water. so i would love to work with you on finding a way to not have to go through this stringent appropriation period process and to streamline it and put money
where it belongs on the front line each time, so the account sits -- i think there's about $20 billion in the account and reclamation, that's for reclamation that's never been appropriated. and the same for lwcf. i think there's $18 billion quote in the lwcf fund that was intend theed for a purpose that was never used for that purpose. >> thank you. and then in the administration's budget there is a proposed 12% cut to the historically troubled bureau of indian education serving about 180 bie schools and about 40,000 students. the budget also proposes cuts totaling $23.3 million that provide social services, welfare assistance, and indian child welfare protections. how is this budget proposal an example of honoring the federal trust obligation with the tribes and can you explain how these
cuts will endanger these communities or the challenge that these communities will now have? >> clearly, when it comes to the bureau of indian education, i think we failed. we spend far more money per student and get far less in outcome. the statistics i have is we spend about $15,391 per student in the bureau of education compares to a national average of under ten. so, more money may not produce a better solution, but i'm concerned as well as you are. because something is not right. and i am open to working together to figure out a better solution, how to do it. i am absolutely committed to making sure that every kid has a great education, in particular to some of our indian nations that are isolated. they are already challenged
with, you know, a multitude of social economic pressures, so i'm committed to working with you on it. >> thank you. thank you for being here. >> thank you, senator. senator gardner? >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, secretary zinke and others for being here today. appreciate your service. this past weekend i had an opportunity to visit the fire out in colorado, a fire that hasn't even been declared put out yet. this is a fire that was burning at its heart, at its peak, i guess, last fall, and, of course, there's really no active firefighting taking place, but you can still see smoke from it as the snow, i guess, trickles into the stumps that are burning and other things, so pretty amazing the work that's taking place and i thank you for the combined efforts of the blm and the work they did with the forest service, as well, on this fire. we talked about the important role of usgs and some of the flow gauges that they are going to be working with local communities on, just encourage you to continue that kind of cooperation with locals as they address the reflows from fires
like the junkens fire and how they impact flooding and others in the way. just briefly mention to you the executive order regarding national monuments and the review 13792. we wrote a letter to you earlier this year talking about the canyons of the ancient national monument and in it we said canyons is what it was intended to do, protect cultural treasures while incorporating the historic use of the land and management of the monument so that community support and support the designation. that's what's happened in colorado with the canyon of the ancients monument, so i would urge you to protect this in colorado as it stands and just is there an update at all on canyons of the ancient in colorado? >> there is, it's currently not on our priority review list. and let me just say a word, because i think bear's ears is relevant in this case. what the recommendation on bear's ears was this, was there
was recommendation to resize the boundary in order to protect the antiquities that are found within it, because it does say smallest area compatible with protection of the object. but there are certain authorities the president simply does not have that we're going to request that congress take a look at. there was lands within the bear's ears that we think might be more appropriate to a national recreation area or a national conservation area, because there's no object, per se, but that authority resides in congress and not the executive. we also looked at there's about 400,000 acres in the bear's ears, which is wilderness study area, so when you put a monument over the top of a wilderness and that monument has its proclamation, do you manage it as a wilderness or a proclamation? because in some cases a wilderness is actually held to a stricter and higher standard of what you can and cannot do in a
wilderness, so we're asking congress to take a look at that. in cases across the west, there might be some monuments that have a wilderness or wilderness study group, so we're asking what the intent of congress was. do you manage as a wilderness or proclamation. co-management was a part of it. we don't have the authority to grant co-management and above all the tribes wanted co-management, but i don't have the authority, nor the president have the authority. that was part of it. >> thank you, secretary. i appreciate it is not on the priority list and hope you'll eventually clear up the fact that it's going to remain as is. during your confirmation hearing we discussed the possibility of moving the blm headquarters because it makes sense to do that with a agency that's 99.9% public lands west of the mississippi river. i've introduced legislation that would do just that, submit to congress a strategy involving certain metrics moving blm west. the legislation has bipartisan
support back home, governor hickenlooper, the mayor of denver supports the effort, at least made public comments in support of it. mr. secretary, given your goal to move some of your department from the front lines out to the west, how can congress best assist you in this goal to relocate the blm headquarters? >> well, we're looking at doing a reorganization of interior, and we're going to need, quite frankly, your help. as the way we're organizing currently is all the different bureaus report to their different regions and we're not very good at joint operations. so we're looking at appropriately moving assets where they should be, and when i say joint, if you have a stream that has a trout and a salmon in the same stream, you're going to probably involve noaa, fish and wildlife, because we're going to look at the trout, noaa is going to look at the salmon, if you irrigate out of it, bureau of
reclamation, and if you have a dam, probably army corps of engineers. there are four different bureaus and if it crosses tribal land, probably b.i.a. in it, so you're going to have four different bureaus that have different priorities and in order to come up with a plan, you're not going to have -- the plan won't be reconciled between the bureaus, so we're going to have to look at how to be more joint and a lot of that is putting the assets where the preponderance of in the case of blm, the preponderance of land in blm is out west, so we are looking at reorganizing to do just that, push the assets where they should be. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i know i'm out of time here, but we'll have questions to follow up on, arkansas valley conduit issue. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator manchin? >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, secretary, for being here. first of all, west virginia is different than being out west, but we're still wild and wonderful. >> i can see you out west, sir. >> first of all, you've covered
the payment in lieu of taxes and that's very important for our state, some of our rural counties, they really depend on a reduction. hits them very, very hard. so, first of all, on the coal. you know, you all have been very supportive of the coal industry and the people that do this tremendous work for the people of this country. i'm confused a little bit why the president's budget of 2018 proposed $134 million in payments to the united mine workers of america from the health benefit plans from the treasury. those are coming from -- money distributed from reclamation and enforcement. that's a $45 million reduction from the 2016, and i don't know if -- we just passed a piece of legislation, put 22,000 miners in the 1993 fund. we're going to be in serious problems here because that aml distribution for the abandoned
mine land monies and the treasury, i don't know if you all have looked at that of what challenges it might cause for you. >> we did, sir, and i go back, this is a starting point, and chairman rogers on the house side, you know, also -- >> watches it very closely. >> very focused on this issue and what i say, i look forward to working with you on it, but i understand certainly the rub. >> you see the concern we have right now being able to meet the demands that we have. >> i do, and i've long respected chairman rogers. i think he does a great job. >> if you work with us on that and make sure our miners don't get short changed, we'd be very appreciative. we'll be working together with you on that. let me go to something as far as our national forest. i'm told that 50% of our nation's forest are privately owned. but over 90% of the timber for our country comes from that 50%. that means that the remainder of
the properties that we have in national forest public lands, about 10% comes from them. why are we not able to harvest or look at harvesting financially especially because we're losing a lot of the forest from maturing and falling and strikes by, you know, by lightning and things of this sort. i think we could do a much better job of managing our forest, also protecting the forest, but having the revenue that would come from it. just the 3% comes from the national forest in west virginia. that provides about 43,000 jobs. >> i could not agree with you more, sir. it has been an area of frustration before i was in congress. the forest service alone has about 71 million acres of dead and dying timber that should be removed. we spend billions of dollars each year fighting forest fires, and yet we can't harvest trees. in our holdings only a small percentage is actually available
for timber harvest, because it's locked up either habitat, spotted owl or different species and so our ability to even go forward on a sustainable yield basis, we're going to need some help legislatively to work through it. there's a case that we're watching closely that will go to, i think, in the 9th circuit that looks at the different balance between legislative intent on sustainable yield by habitat and other things, but we're looking at it and my commitment is to make sure we have a healthy forest and a healthy forest is making sure that we are at sustainable or as close as we can and remove dying timber and have a healthy timber industry. >> do people just defy the accuracy or the logic of this that don't want anything touched in these -- these are pristine
areas, i understand, but yet if i'm going to preserve a pristine area, i'm going to allow it to flourish and grow and dying timber is absolutely opposite. >> well, we live in a great nation of a lot of opinions, and there are some that believe in the theory of natural regulation more than the model where man is an observer and lightest footprint and they are more than content of watching their forests burn down year after year. i sit on the pinch hill model of using science and multiple use for most of our holdings, which includes timber harvest, but you have to do it right and there's been mistakes in the past, but we have great people that know how to harvest timber. >> my final thing real quick, my time's running out, aml, funds, what we're using them for and the purpose. a lot of that was for basically revitalizing the power plus plan, revitalize some of these areas that lost so much, and the
president's budget proposes limiting the abandoned mine lands economic development pilot program. i hope you would look at that, sir, before you all make that step, because these communities that gave so much to this great country need a little bit of assistance to get back up on their feet, and eliminating that would be very harmful to them. >> my commitment is to work on that, and chairman rogers also talked to me point blank on that one, too, and i respect him. but most of all, i respect jobs and i respect hard working people, and whether it's coal or logging or just people putting things together in manufacturing industry, i come from three generations of plumbers, i just like people who work and so does the president. thank you, sir. >> thank you, senator. senator grasso? >> thank you. secretary zinke, great to see you. i was singing your praises,
senator dane's, as well as our friend ryan lance at both boy's state and girl's state in wyoming in the past week because there you were, three young high school students from montana sitting together at boy's state. that's the aspiration for young people, boy's state, girl's state, all across the country, can look to you, as well as senator danes, as well as ryan as something to look up to and work for. >> i have to say, i was the slacker of the three. >> you and i have spoken in the past about bureau of land management and the backlog of permits to drill for oil and gas on federal land. we discussed permitting delays, they vary among field offices. some of the offices are having much more substantial backlogs than others. oil and gas permitting delays directly threaten security, they threaten american jobs and economic stability in small communities. the department's budget proposal includes a $16 million increase
for the blm program that is responsible for processing oil and gas drilling permits. budget proposals state that this funding increase will, quote, help ensure blm has sufficient administrative and staff capacity to quickly process applications for permits to drill. i am encouraged by your proposal. blm needs to have the necessary resources at its disposal to process the oil and gas permits in a timely manner. we must ensure that it allocates its resources to field offices greatest in need, such as the field office we currently have in casper, wyoming. i just ask what steps you're going to take to ensure the blm field offices have the resources they need to relieve some of these significant backlogs for the permit of application. >> i would say the backlog is really two pronged. one is resources, but also the process of we want to make sure the process is fair and not arbitrary and holds people accountable. i think we all agree with that, but if it can go into these
loops where all of a sudden you can't get an answer for 18 months, two years, you don't have any chance to actually talk to the individual that's doing it or it can be pigeon holed, there's a problem. i would think in 45 days, given where the fields are, you should have a feeling whether that permit's going to be authorized or not, or whether it can be mitigated. so a lot of it is restoring trust in our system that we're going to do what the public expects us to do, is do a review. the review should be straight forward, trust but verify, make sure that permit process is not arbitrary, and we should work with people and be more of a partner than some cases an adversary, and that's a tall order, given that a lot of the government, or a lot of the folks out there, whether it's industry or private land owners, don't trust the department of
interior. and my number one job is to get back there and talk to communities and be an advocate and restore trust. >> the department's facing several billion dollar issues which are going to require prioritization and management well into the future, beyond just the upcoming fiscal year. issues like wild horse and borough management, wildfire funding, management, wildfire funding which you described as a billion dollar problem, maintenance costs costing the department billions. and they're not going to be solved over night, and this is not just a budget problem or proposal for one -- this is proposal for one year you're talking about today. to what extent you examining the long-term needs like the national park services deferred maintenance backlog? >> well, we're looking at long-term funding. obviously when you drop $15.5 billion a year, we could have caught up on maintenance. but we don't want to go up and
down. we want to stay on stream. there are certainly new opportunities onshore, new revenue to commit on a stable platform maintenance repair. it was mentioned earlier we have 330 million visitors through our park system last year. we think that's going to increase. so now we have to look at the public lands around our parks to make sure thing things like the trails connect, water sources connect. and those are going to take resources to do that and have a steady fund of resources to put in our infrastructure is part of it. so we're looking at long-term fix, and that will be part of as understand, the infrastructure bill. >> and you made some comments about it earlier to one of the questions that we have failed, something is not right, committed to making sure the education process is there. just as we go forward, i hope that you continue to work
closely with the bureau of education and congress to make sure that the money is used most effectively because as you say there is a lot of room for improvement. >> and one comment about indian education. it's different. you have dorms, in some cases security. so just the funny mechanisms. so just to say it's more expensive is a little bit deceiving in that it's not the same as a public school in some cases. but it's certainly a priority of mine to make sure that the education experience and the opportunity for a child is elevated and highlighted and prioritized. but it's going to take both of us working together and probably giving more flexibility upfront to the tribes so that they can look at their issue and cater a more flexible approach. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you, madam chairman.
>> senator heimlich. >> secretary zinke, you and i recently talked about a plan to provide public access to the only legally assessable wilderness area to the entire nation. for the very first time this year we have the potential to have access to that area. since 2009 when the wilderness was designated and long before then when it was a wilderness study area, this area was closed to the public with no legal ingrs. we have an opportunity to change that with a piece of an agreement that is literally sitting in your lap in time for this year's hunting seeszen. and i've heard from local sportsmans groups as well as the county commission in support of this plan. and i'm literally getting calls each and every day from folks wondering when a decision will
be final. i have letters here from the thedor roosevelt conservation partnership, the local chapter of sportsman concern, the wild turkey sportsman federation, and the san miguel county commission. the list kind of goes on and on. we're finally at the finish line in an effort that's taken well over a decade. can i go back and tell them they can look forward to hunting in the wilderness this year? >> you and i talked about it is that the proposal was -- and we both agree -- public access, the interior would strongly taking it under public lands. it is -- the status of the land, it's a donation, not a proposal. >> it's a donation, but it doesn't meet the standard of what a wilderness typically is. and i'll work with you because
we both agree this is a public opportunity. we both agree this should have public access. i think the rub is do we take it as wilderness or do we take it in as something that provides a little bit more access. as you know wilderness doesn't include a bike or a mountain bike or a vehicle. >> the challenge is that there's no place to bike to because it's at the end of a road at the existing wilderness area. so the donation was actually made continge want on the land being made to the existing wilderness. and i've spoken to the landowner, and they're not willing to make the donation under separate terms from that. so let's be clear, if you don't accept the donation, the reality is we're back to square one. where we are before with zero access for hunting, zero public access for reck ration. there's no plan b for this.
and someone that went out to try to find easements we could purchase for this area for over ten years, there is no alternative. it's either we get access for the first time or we go back to the only landlocked wilderness in the united states. and that is clearly not what my constituents desire. >> well, i don't yield to pressure, only higher principle. and when somebody comes to the table and says we're only going to give you these conditions under these terms, that doesn't sound like a negotiation -- >> at the time the blm was open to those terms. now as a new secretary, understand. >> and we're open to negotiating so we have public access. so if they're willing to work with us on making sure that the public has access to it, then i'm sure we can come to a
menable solution on it. but to come to the table to say these terms and conditions only. >> right now we don't have public access, zero. and so by looking a gift horse in the mouth, we're trying -- we're turning back the clock to where we were before. and i can tell you if this doesn't get done by this fall, i can just tell you there will be an awful lot of people disappointed in north eastern new jersey who thought "the list" a slam dunk, where you had the county commission, you had the local groups onboard, you had the delegation onboard. we literally had -- this is one of those few cases where everybody lines up on the same side and says this is good for our economy where we can grow our economy with this, let's do it. >> and i'll work with you on it. but your definition of public access is only you can walk through the wilderness without
either walk or horseback or is it public access where it provides amenities like a parking lot for people that are maybe disabled or can't walk through? >> it's easy enough to provide a parking lot under this arrangement, but you're not going to be able to provide mechanized access to the area that is designated as wilderness. i'm all for additional access for mountain bikes, but this isn't the place. have you been there? this canyon wall goes straight up on either side. there's no place to go to unless you're willing to put a pack on. and there are big mule there, barbary sheet, elk, turkey, some of the best habitat in north eastern new mexico. and right now what i know is there's zero, zero, zero public access. >> i think we should both agree we move forward on public
access. >> senator cane. >> thank you. i want to invite senator cassy to join the caucus. and i want to use these charts the next time i'm on the floor talking about climate change. although i know in louisiana part of the problem is subsidence. and we're going to have to change the name of that park to the park formally known as glacier. because there were 150 glaciers when the park was founded. there are now 26. they've retreated 26 in the last 50 years. that's accelerating. it's probably the most prominent. secretary zinke, first i'm not going to lobby you. i want to thank you for visiting our beautiful woods and waters national monument that's already
having positive economic effects in our region. but i'm not going to lobby you. i really want to thank you for going sincerely. i once went on a congressional trip and a an old man in a foreign country said i know why you're here. and i said why is that? and he said one day of seeing is better than 100 days of reading. you made a commitment to me to go to maine, and i'm just kited you do that. >> it was a wonderful experience, and i'm sure you're going to be enthusiastic about the recommendation. >> well, that's as much as i can ask. >> as well as the governor. i've talked to the governor, so i think we have a reasonable approach that all parties will be satisfied with. >> i congratulate you on that and look forward to the
recommendation. you mentioned that a substantial part of the cuts will take place in regional -- in the bure ocacy, if you will as opposed to the individual parks. are there cuts of individual parks that will hit operating budgets? >> on their reorganization, again, what i see is the front line, the specific parks are too short. in the case of the monument in maine, there's only one supervissuper intendant there, and you can add one superintendant plus a detail person. and clearly the infrastructure including bathrooms and signs and working together with the state, when you incorporate something in a public trust, in a park service or monument, then there's also an obligation on our side to make sure it's done
right. bears ears in that conversation, there's no doubt some antiguaties there that are well-deserving of federal protection. but what i didn't see are signs, bathrooms at trail heads, i didn't see any parking lots. in one case in escalawn, i saw a german van with three germans in it with ckayaks. we also have to assume the responsibility to make sure we preserve it. and that's infrastructure, signing and those things necessary to do it. >> and in those individual parks whether it's yellow stone or acadia in maine, do you anticipate budget cuts or are you talking about simply
regional administration? >> what i anticipate, individually very doubtful. probably what i've done in the headquarters straz the hiring freeze, i maintained in washington and maintain it in denver so we can push bodies through where they belong out in the front. and you'll see a movement to make sure we shore up and expand the front line. the regional scientists, they're all in the usgs now with a decision from a couple of secretaries ago. what we're looking at is how to return the scientists back out to the field, to where they do more field work rather than headquarters work. but there are some minor adjustments in the budget. but i think as we go through the process and coordinate with you on reorganization, what our goal
is to make the parks not only whole but give more assets on the front line and reduce the middle and upper management -- >> in the armed services committee we talk about tooth to tail. we're talking about more tooth and less tail hp, and i don't necessarily object to that plan view. one of the items in the budget or in the plan is a suspension of the advisory commissions to the national parks, and they're under review. i can't speak for other parks. i can tell you that the advisory commission at the acadia in maine is very important, make a great contribution. i think this is a case where the value to the park system in terms of good relations with its neighbors outweighs the fairly minor savings from the administrative costs associated. so i commend to you from personal experience the advisory
commissions. >> well, i have 220, which was a surprising number. and this was what i asked rather than going to individual advisory groups and saying, well, i'm going to sus pepd this, i suspended them all within this caveat. tell me who's on your board, tell me what your budget is, and tell me what your gel is. and if you had an issue, they could ask for an exemption to meet. as far as acadia, they did not request an exemption yet. now i'm responsible to these 220 boards. it just was an opportunity to me to know who was in the board, look through what their goals are, which i think is important. and then if i had any questions, i could ask. but i assume that we'll all
the -- all the paperwork on those boards. but if acadia is meeting, which i understand they want to meet in the summer, all they have to do put in a request for exemption, and i would understand it. >> sounds like the national park idea of trust but verify. >> trust but verify. if you're a plumber $16 million, a lot of money. i want to know what they've done in the last years, what they've done in the last five years and then be glad to write them a card and say thank you for your service and invite them to d.c. and talk to them. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator king, and i appreciate you bringing up that question because i too have hushd from a lot of folks back home. we have a couple of advisory committees that are pretty
important. one impacts the mpra in the 1002 area. there's two groups, so obviously very key to what we're trying to do up north. so hearing your explanation, mr. sae secretary, on what your intent was and just conducting this review and how if there is work underway there's an opportunity for those groups to be up and running and doing the work that i think we all recognize as important. but oversight is always appreciated around here. let me go back to another issue relating to land conveyances. blm conducted an inventory
looking into the contaminated lands that have been conveyed to alaska native corporations and additional contamination. they've notified over 600 contaminated sites. and the ownership is kind of a mixed bag here. but what we know is that these sites are contaminated. they need remediation. the federal government is moving very slowly. and part of the problem is we just don't have a single agency that is overseeing and coordinating the cleanup. so you've got a situation where you have lands that are formerly held by the interior, army corp lands. you've got faa lands, dod lands and everybody is kind of pointing a finger and say you be in charge. and as a consequence, it just is
not happening. blm, we've had long discussions with them. they say they can't compel federal agencies to cleanup these contaminated sites. but it seems to me because of doi's responsibility to alaska native wheresturb seems that at a minimum we ought to gets the interior to coordinate a working group of these responsible agencies so that we can get the cleanup started on 600 sites. and again, this is different issue than the legacy well cleanups, which you've already been briefed on up north. we're trying to cut through that backlog as well. but when you think about the situation right now, again, you have alaska natives that have not have the commitments to our veterans fulfill. and then on some of the lands where they receive conveyance, they get contaminated lands.
it's not a good deal. it's not right. so i ask if you can have your team go back and see what they can't do to work with us on how we can address this issue of contaminated lands. maybe we need to look at whether interior could allow anc's to trade back contaminated lands for selections of new clean lands. but i need to make some progress on this, and i'm asking for your asestitance on it. >> well, the good news at least on the alaskan legacy wells is i think we're done 31 now as opposed to 50. but in the 218, i think there's going to be 20 wells and of legacy. this is why we're looking at reorganization because you are absolutely correct as of the different bureaus within the
government agency whether it's ag or interior or army corp of engineers, don't work very well. and you can't task each other without going to the secretary. and we've created bureaucracy where we can't get anything done. and we're looking at quite frankly alaska is going to joint model, joint management. same way we fight forest fires, same way we combat. and in the state liaison we think that model is appropriate when we're looking at wildlife corridors, water sheds, cleanup in these areas that tran snd the bureau but our multi-bureau would be joint in this case. so that model is appropriate. we're going to need some work with you to make that happen.
there are some things that we go through what we required were no doubt, we want to work you anyway on it. but we're going to need your help in order to bring the ball to field. >> just so much of this is interagency coordination. and it gets very frostrating, again, when you have one agency pointing a finger at the other and say you do it first. so we need to work on that. let me turn it to senator franken. >> thank you, m madam chair. i've heard a great deal of concern from tribeal leaders about the role that james caisson at the department of interiors is playing. during the time at the department of interior during the bush administration he earned a reputation for his opposition in putting land in a trust. and i'm now hearing that land
decisions that were previously made at the assistant secretary level will now be made by mr. caisson. in fact i've learned mr. caisson has delegated a great deal of decision making that is normally within the secretary purview. what is the scope of mr. caisson's role at the department? does it oversee the cobell agreement and putting land in the trust? >> well, i share your -- well, perhaps not. but to date i don't have my deputy. of all the senate confirmed individuals, i don't even have my deputy. so i have about 70 appointments, 20 or so senate confirmed. and to date i have no senate confirm. so i have magnificent candidates, bia included but they're not in the office. so mr. caisson is my acting deputy at the moment and comes with a lot of experience from
his previous tour in the bush administration on it. as you know, i think it was january 19th when i probably had an interior eight or nine decisions of trust coming in. i think we went to court on two of them on determinations whether or not it's appropriate to take a trust in. so i would love to get a stable platform of -- >> okay, i'm hearing this leadership across the whole administration in terms of shortage of deputies, et cetera. i just want to ask you about your statements on the president's budget and whether they reflect a commendment to strengthen tribal sovereignty.
budget cuts of $371 million from the bureau of indian affairs, those of us who are on the indian affairs committee just know how woefully underfunded the tribes are and indian country. and this sort of adds insult to industry. how exactly do these cuts support sovereignty and self-determineination? and how can you build trust in a country when you present a budget like this. >> well, i'll go back to the beginning. this is what a balanced budget looks like. we could ignore it. >> there are other ways to balance budgets. and on the backs of the tribes, to me, is not the way to do it. >> and they're to a degree, not across the board, some of the cuts that were 8%, but this is
what a budget cut looks like. the unfortunate thing or fortunate is you have a say -- >> i hear you, and i'm not going to argue you with because i want to change quickly to climate change. at the house appropriations meeting last week you had an exchange on climate change with representative betty mccullen. you talked about glacal retreating. quote, glacales started meting right after the end of the last ice age. that is true, but you continue it has been a consistent melt. in fact data released last month by the u.s. geological survey scientists who work for you, sthoe that glaciers in parks have shrunk by 40% in the last 50 years. so we are not seeing a
consistent melt. our melting is druimateically accelerating. i'm concerned that our secretary of the interior who's in charge of our nation's public lands is unclear. and we had this in your confirmation hearing. i'm concerned about whether you are clear about the magnitude of warming that is occurring and the backing out of the paris agreement -- i know i'm running out of time. can you tell me how much warming scientists predict in a business scenario? >> well, the paris aaccord cord and the president in my judgment, it wasn't about climate change. it was about a bad deal. we spent $3 billion, $1 billion
in cash -- >> i know we're out of time, so can you just answer my question? can you tell me how much warming government scientists predict for the end of this century under a business as usual scenario? >> i don't think scientists model that can predict with certainty. >> they predict a range, and you said we have to go with science. that's what you said in the early part of this hearing. you said we have to go to the science. and there is agreement among climate scientists about the range of what we would have in warming by the end of the century. do you know what that range is? >> if everyone adhered to the paris climate accord, that change would be refly 0.2 degrees, which is insignificant. and yet people ignore the fact that china -- >> no, no.
>> that was an mit study. >> that was a -- that was what the change would be under the period covered by the agreement. that's not what the change would be at the end of the century if they continued it. so you're really mixing apples and oranges. i just want you to answer the question that i asked you. that's all i want you to do. can you tell me how much warming government scientists working for our government predict for the end of this century under a business as usual scenario? >> can you tell me, sir, whether or not china increased its co2 by now and 230 in their agreement, and i will be glad to give you that answer? >> so you'll give it in writing? >> thank you. senator huroana.
>> thank you, madam, chair. you said a number of times in response to our questions that this budget is what a balanced budget looks like. so does this budget balance resource extraction with conservation? >> the budget balances fiscally in a ten year program. it does not favor one solution over another, nor does it favor one extraction over another. it's a budget that produces a stewardship of our public lands. >> on the other hand, you also talked about the need to raise revenue. and one way is you would increase what we get from resource extraction. and so it does appear from a very pragmatic standpoint that
is one of the ways you are going to create additional funds to keep the interior department going. i would say if we look at this budget, it probably reflects towards resource extraction than conservation. let me give you an example. when i met with you prior that hearing that you are a big supporter of the water conservation fund. and that fund is supposed to be a conservation program that is funded by oil driven revenue. and yet this fund is cut by 84%. so that is an example of how we're moving toward extraction as opposed to conservation. and the reason that i'm particular interested in the strength of the land and water conservation fund is that it's a very bipartisan supported fund. and hawaii has submitted a
proposal that obtains funding from the lwcf, and our proposal is called island forest at risk. and it protects water resources and improves eke smtssystems, e cetera. >> it's funny. the source of lwcf is offshore oil and gas. so when we drill offshore oil and gas we fund into the fund. whts cut off is land acquisition in the lwcf. but as you know the fund itself has about $18 billion over the period of time that has not been appropriated. and so i think we're supportive of looking at lwcf expansion on
onshore, too. some of that is to provide some infrastructure relief. it's hard to fathom how you would take land in if you can't afford to maintain it. and i think we should look at ways to maintain. when we have our conservation easements and all the good things that land/water conservation fund has provided, we need to make sure we have a revenue stream to make sure we can maintain those holdings. >> but in the case of island proposal at risk, it is for landowners, because we do not have any national forests in hawaii. we're one of ten states that do not. we rely on funds from the government. and so there are private enties that have been waiting for years and finally got into the pipeline of support for lwcf and
suddenly that pipeline has been closed. now, i would like to understand that i conclude you do support the president's budget for interior at this point with all the cuts that many of my colleagues have pointed out. >> i do support the budget. and i commend the president for actually having the focus on providing the first step of what a balanced budget would look like. that is a tremendous change from the proposition that having a budget that doesn't balance, that really doesn't matter. so at least if nothing else it provides a conversation. >> i'm running out of time because a balanced budget is in the eye of the beholder. did you push back on any of the cuts that are reflected in the budget for interior? >> there was certain areas in
the budget that i think should be greater prioritized than not. >> such as? >> i've always been a supporter of lwcf although the sources for affshore oil and gas, i think our parks are our treasure. but what surprised me about when you become a secretary and you open up the budget is how much revenue we lost. that's a concern to me because revenue can pay for a lot of things. and if you have money in the bank, then a lot of these programs and things and the hardship doesn't have to occur. the other thing that's interesting is where we spend our money. $5.5 billion worth of grants. most of the grants are absolutely appropriate and good. but looking at it, a lot of money was going outside of other things while our infrastructure
was hurting. personnel-wise, we have good people in the department of interior but we're really heavy on our upper bureaucracy. we have about 6500 people in d. c. >> yes, you mentioned that. but i was particularly interested are there any particular areas you pushed back on cuts? we need to get that back, i would say, on track. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you, senator heimlich. >> thank you, madam chair. so secretary, i'm always struck with senator king. something stuck with me when he was having a conversation with you. he had one day of seeing is better than 30 days of reading. it gives a little bit of an
impression because it shows how the donation property is really just the gateway to the existing wilderness. that right now is in a sea of private land, which is why public access is not possible. and it is my understanding that there is an outside the wilderness boundary location where some of the local advocates have hoped to grade and create a parking lot for access into the entire canyon system. but i thought given that you said while i was off at a vote that you were coming out to new mexico, what might really help for both of us is to see it on the ground. and so i wanted to extend that invitation and see if you might be interested in seeing the location on the ground so that we can have sort of commonplace to start in terms of where this goes?
>> i would be honored to anticipate your invitation, and i will be out there. one thing good about this job is you see a lot of beautiful country and meet a lot of great people. so i'll commit to come out there and commit to work with you on it. >> great. that's very much appreciated. the first time i bent in there was on horseback because there was the most effective way to get in and out. and you know something about that mode of transit. i want to go back to a moment for bears ears. you said people should see it for themselves. and i conquer with that. i was just at beers ears with my family over spring break. i used to have an outfit when i was running educational outdoor expeditions. and you said we have to follow the law. so i'm curious as part of your process you've mapped out the
locations of the antiguatys and the objects that were in that proclamation over the landscape of the current boundary as to know how and where it might be adjusted. >> we're in the process of doing that. there's obviously high density of ones that are easily recognizable. there ones that aren't, so we're working with all parties to go through it. but the recommendation was this. we think the antiguatys and we evaluated and revised. but to your point i know your appreciative and supportive of our wilderness. what happens when you put a proclamation with those proclamations management over the top of the wilderness? because as you know wilderness can sometimes be more stringent than a proclamation.
there's areas with a forest service or u.s. forest in there. there's a monument -- >> up on elk ridge and bears ears on the forest service side. >> yep, and there's also areas that are probably better suited -- and the request was this, request for congress to examine the territory of the areas within it to see if they're more appropriate with a national reaction area or national conservation area. because it's difficult to identify an object within those areas. >> i and i'm not trying to cut you off. i'm just a little short on time here. i would point to the example of bandoleer where we have both a monument that is consistent with the proclamation. one of the things i'm interested in is not just looking at the
antiguaties out, where the object be protected were a scientific object. it was the root velt elk. and this proclamation is very clear in calling out the elk and the mule deer and the big horn sheep as an object in that cultural context as a monument as well. and i hope we can mabe sure we take a look at those as well as the cultural antiguaties, which are clearly important as well. >> thank you. thank you, senator heimlich. >> i wanted to ask first about asking for the manhattan project hiring. are you holding up on hiring in that position? is that part of your your -- >> no, overall what i've done is kept the hiring freeze in washington, in the metropolitan
area, and in denver, our two largest areas and try to fill the gaps, try to fill the gaps out in the field with that. on gs 12 and above, they just have to get a waiver. but i released the hiring freeze on gs-12 and below, and the other waiver. so we're not holding anything up. what we're trying to do is fill some of the positions from denver and washington with qualified individuals first. >> so will you be moving forward on hiring for the manhattan project park? if you don't know today, you can get back to me on that. >> i don't think we're holding it up, but i'll get back to you. >> if you're saying you want the front line to be manned, but it's a new joint doe interior
effort. >> i know there's concern about some of our other holdings. we nearly have one individual, cutauten has one supervisor in a monument and then they have a detail. so it's really about 1.5 ftxs. i'm similar across the board the in the front line. if it's our holding, then we need to have a responsibility to make sure that the front line at least is protected. >> well, this is new front line for sure. and it definitely will add revenue i guarantee you because it's a great -- i mean from a regional per spect vive. but you can get back to me on it because i know it might not be something you came prepared to address. back to the methane issue. congress has said this is the law, and we want to know how
you're enforcing it. well, you are saying i'm suspending that rule. if you want to suspend that rule you have to go through the admin administrative procedures act. and that's supporting a change and having public comment on it before it's finalized. so are you telling meal under this current process you're going to make sure the current law is implemented? >> it's a little problematic exactly on the law. i'm going to challenge the court with it, and we're proceeding. my intention, so you know, is we're going to rewrite the rule and go through the complete public process on it. because both you and i agree on this issue that flaring is a waste. i think from a steward perspective i think wasting a public asset like methane is
just wasteful. so we have to incentivize collection systems and make sure our public asset is not wasted. >> so you're going to talk to technology people in the meantime about how you can stop flaring and -- >> yes, ma'am, we're talking on all sides on that as well as it's part of the royalty issue, too, the collection of royalties on that side because that's revenue in the door. how to do it effectively. how to not incur undue cost but how we're all on the same page to make sure the law is enforced and we do it by the numbers and by the book. >> but you're not going to drag your feet for the next six months on implementation? >> ma'am, i don't drag my feet. i just don't operate that way. as far as the law goes, i support the law as we all should. that's my obligation to do that.
>> i appreciate that. i had this unusual experience when i got elected to the senate and john ashcroft nomination and i asked him this question. you going to implement the last or fight it because now we have a new boss? and he said because it's the new rule of law, i will enforce it. and there are times i'm glad he enforced that as a law brash and we called him out of on it. and i want you to know we will be doing the same here because we certainly feel this waste should not be at the taxpayer expense. but i appreciate you for saying you will work to implement it. >> mr. secretary, i do have some additional questions. one relates to mineral security, understanding what it is that we have. you mentioned with the 1002 and up north and the north slope, it's important to know what we
have, have an inventory. and so i have a question relating to that as well as to usgs and survey natural hazards and specifically to earthquake monitors that are slated to be decommissioned as well as volcano monitors in the state. unfortunately, we do not have consent to waive the two hour rule. so now the hour of 12:00 is upon us, i'm not allowed to continue the hearing. so you get off that way, but i certainly hope you can provide me some updates on not only three two areas but others. i imagine we will have other colleagues that will be submitting cession questions for the record that were not able to be here this morning. i thank you for not only being here but your leadership. i hear you very clearly, your request to this committee to send you help. we would like to ge get your deputy up to you. he has moved out of the
committee, but we need to get him moved through the floor. and we need to get the other members of your team through that process. you're working hard, but you need your team with you. and know that we're committed to making that happen just as rapidly as wepably can. so with that, we thank you for your leadership. and the meeting stands adjourned.
on wednesday former homeland security secretary jay johnson will testify on russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, be speaking before the house intelligence committee. you'll be able to watch it live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on cspan 3. you can also watch online or stream on the cspan radio app. >> acting fbi director andrew mccabe is expected to brief lawmakers on the bureau's 2018 budget request. we have live coverage when that kicks off at 3:00 p.m. eastern. on monday president trump held a meeting with technology executives, universe leaders, and administration officials on efforts to modernize government services and technology. notable attendees included the leaders of microsoft, amazon,